Eating isn’t just about nourishing our bodies and satisfying our cravings. It’s about feeling good about ourselves and giving us the energy needed to get through the day. If you deal with bouts of depression, the foods you eat just may be the cause.
The foods we eat have an incredible effect on our bodies. They have the capacity to nurture us, give us energy, improve our mood, uplift our spirits and make us feel good about ourselves. They also have the ability to leave us feeling fatigued, worn out and depressed. Healthy eating isn’t just a means of losing weight; it’s a way of life that allows us to accomplish our daily tasks while feeling good about ourselves. There are many foods that deplete us and can often leave us feeling sad and depressed. Let’s look at the top five foods that trigger depression and work toward avoiding them.
High fructose corn syrup
In other words — processed sugar. High fructose corn syrup causes depression because it reacts negatively with serotonin — the happy hormone and excessive amounts in the body is also known to decrease energy and leave us feeling fatigued. Instead of reaching for a cookie or doughnut, choose fresh fruits — that contain natural sugars — or organic veggies.
Foods high in sodium
Did you know that most “fat-free” foods contain extra amounts of sodium? Though we need sodium to survive, too much of it isn’t doing our bodies any good. Sodium leaves us feeling bloated and lifeless, plus it throws off our neurological system which can lead to depression. The American Heart Association recommends 1,500 mg or less per day.
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We love our Diet Coke as much as the next guy, but recent studies show that it lowers our serotonin levels that allows for depression to set in. Artificial sweeteners are also known to make us crave sweets and carbohydrates, which leads to weight gain, and that leads to being depressed. It’s a vicious cycle, and it’s best to stick to water or green tea for beverages.
Fluoride in water
It’s a myth that fluoridated water is good for you (or your teeth). All it does for your body is cause constipation and depression. Since fluoride is prevalent in almost all tap water across the United States, we recommend purchasing filtered water to keep this substance out of our systems.
Alcohol is a depressant, that’s all there is to it. Most people drink to lift their moods and relax their minds, but really they’re just becoming dependent on a substance that will leave them feeling extremely depressed over time. The more alcohol you drink, the more you need. If you’re going to drink, we suggest limiting yourself to one or two drinks on occasion to prevent depression from sinking in.
What to eat instead
Having any of the above-mentioned foods is OK in moderation, but your diet should mostly consist of fruits, veggies, lean meats, whole grains and fish. Back in the day, depression was much less prevalent and that’s due to the differences in the foods we eat. Processed foods didn’t exist so our only options were to eat a natural, plant-based diet.
Eliminate these foods from your diet for a week and replace them with healthy, natural foods instead. Make note of how you feel and any differences in your overall well-being. Share your results in the comments below!